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By Film Threat Staff | December 15, 2006

The 18th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival has announced a record-setting roster of 254 films, culled from more than 73 countries for the 2007 Festival. The selection of films for screening includes a total of 79 premieres (3 World, 47 U.S. and 29 North American). Also, 55 of the 61 films submitted for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Awards will be screened at this year’s Festival, held from January 4-15, 2007.

Commenting on this year’s Festival, Darryl Macdonald, festival director, said, “The Festival this year represents a heady blend of star power and cinematic excellence. The film line-up is exceptionally potent and diverse, reflecting the emergence of vibrant new voices in unexpected corners of the world, even as it spotlights established masters like Paul Verhoeven, Lars Von Trier and John Boorman. At the same time, our Awards Gala roster celebrates a return to excellence in the realm of Hollywood studio filmmaking, and a move away from the genre conventions that have dominated American movies for far too long.”

“It is amazing that the Festival will present films from a record-setting 74 countries, truly making this a world-class event,” said Carl Spence, director of programming. “This selection of films showcases the best the world has to offer including the new program Skøl Scandanavia which spotlights some of the best films being made in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, as a result of the strong creative and financial support filmmakers receive in the region.”

Seven films will screen in the Gala category including the U.S. premiere of the opening night film Outsourced (USA) and the North American premiere of the Closing Night Film “The Tiger’s Tail” (Ireland/UK). The Awards Buzz section will feature 55 of the 61 Best Foreign Language Film submissions as well as the films under consideration in the Best Documentary Feature category and Short Documentary Film category of the Academy Awards. Thirty-eight films from Latin America, Spain and Portugal will screen in the Festival’s Ciné Latino program, which will highlight emerging talent from the Latino film world. New this year is a section on Scandinavian cinema called Skøl! Scandanavia that will screen 17 films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

The True Stories section of the Festival highlights 18 of the best new films in contemporary non-fiction cinema. In addition, 96 films in the World Cinema Now program features a wide-ranging overview of contemporary international cinema and the Super-Charged Cinema program, a late-night film series featuring four rousing genre films.

This year’s festival will open on Thursday, January 4, 2007 with the U.S. premiere of “Outsourced” (USA). The romantic comedy follows an American novelty products salesman, who heads to India to train his replacement, after his entire department is outsourced. Directed by John Jeffcoat, the film stars Josh Hamilton, Ayesha Dharker, Asif Basra, Matt Smith and Larry Pine.

Other International Gala Screenings include the U.S. premieres of “The Boss of It All” (Denmark) directed by Lars von Trier, and “Black Book” (Netherlands) directed by Paul Verhoeven; the North American premiere of “Twice Upon a Time” (France/UK/Romania), starring Charlotte Rampling and Jean Rochefort, directed by Antoine de Caunes; “The Golden Door” (Italy) directed by Emanuele Crialese; and this year’s traditional “Gay-la” screening will be “Boy Culture” (USA), directed by Q. Allan Brocka.

The Festival will close with North American premiere of “The Tiger’s Tail” (Ireland/UK) on Sunday, January 14. “The Tiger’s Tail” is a black comedy thriller set during the current economic boom times of Ireland featuring a triple-whammy of sex, lies and devilish twists in which a successful businessman’s life begins to unravel when he encounters his doppelganger. Written and directed by John Boorman, the film stars Brendan Gleeson, Kim Cattrall, Sinead Cusack, Ciaran Hinds and Brian Gleeson.

Two films have been selected as Special Presentations: “Sharkwater” (Canada) directed by Rob Stewart, and “Inland Empire” (USA) directed by David Lynch. The Festival will also feature two special archival presentations, which reflect our international cinematic heritage – “Marketa Lazarova” (Czech Republic) directed by Frantisek Vlacil and “The Damned Don’t Cry” (USA) directed by Vincent Sherman – featuring 1950’s Palm Springs!

“Talking Pictures” is the Festival’s series of seminars, panel discussions and master classes that focuses on various elements of films and filmmaking designed to explore the history, language and subtext of cinema. This year’s Festival will feature two “Critical Perspectives” programs on Sunday, January 7. Newsweek critic David Ansen will present a screening of “Little Miss Sunshine” followed by a discussion with the film’s writer Michael Arndt and directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who will also be honored at the Festival’s Awards Gala. Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan will present a screening of “Pan’s Labyrinth” followed by a discussion with the film’s director Guillermo Del Toro. Del Toro will also receive the Festival’s International Filmmaker Award at the screening.

In addition, the Festival will host a Directors Panel on Saturday, January 13 called “Courting Controversy”, and a screenwriting seminar featuring Writer’s Boot Camp presenting a program titled “How to Write for the Independent Film” on Sunday, January 14.

The Festival will offer a selection of 79 premieres of highly anticipated films showcasing the diversity of international cinema.

World Premieres include “Music Within” (USA), “The Moon and the Stars” (Italy/UK/Hungary) and “When Pigs Fly” (USA).

North American Premieres include “The 12 Labors” (Brazil), “53 Days in Winter” (Spain), “9th Company” (Russia/Ukraine/Finland), “Cecile (Denmark), “Chica Tu Madre” (Peru/Argentina), “El Benny” (Cuba), “Floating Lamp of the Shadow Valley” (India), “Forever Flows” (Bangladesh), “In the Shadow of the Dog” (India), “Los Manos” (Argentina/Italy), “Libertas” (Croatia/Italy/Montenegro), “Migration” (Nepal), “Mr. Average” (Belgium), “Murders” (France), “My Quick Way Out” (Spain), “Never on a Sunday” (Mexico), “Nina’s Journey” (Sweden/Poland), “The Passenger: Adult Secrets” (Brazil), “Provoked” (UK), “Resisting Life” (Mexico), “So Long, My Heart!” (Switzerland/Germany), “Someone Else” (UK), “Sons” (Norway), “The Tiger’s Tail” (UK), “Twice Upon a Time” (France/UK/Romania), “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (Denmark), “Velocity Begets Oblivion” (Argentina/Spain), “The Wedding Chest” (Kyrgyzstan/Russia/France/Germany) and “Zuzu Angel” (Brazil).

U.S. Premieres include “Agua” (Argentina/France), “Ahimsa: Stop to Run (Thailand), “Antonio Vivaldi: A Prince in Venice” (France/Italy), “Black Book” (Netherlands/Germany/UK/Belgium), “Black Butterfly” (Peru), “The Book of Revelation” (Australia), “The Boss of It All” (Denmark), “The Caiman” (Italy), “A Casa Nostra” (Italy), “Chariton’s Choir” (Greece), “Congorama” (Canada), “Cover Boy” (Italy), “Dear Mr. Waldman” (Israel), “Don’t Worry, I’m Fine” (France), “The Education of the Fairies” (Spain/Argentina/France), “End of the Line” (Canada), “Fair Play” (France), “The Family Friend” (Italy), “Forever” (Netherlands), “Forget You Not” (Italy), “Free Jimmy” (Norway), “French California” (France), “The Girl is Mine” (France), “Heaven’s Doors” (Morocco), “How Much Do You Love Me?” (France/Italy), “I Remember” (Brazil), “It’s Winter” (Iran), “The Legend of Time” (Spain), “The Missing Star” (Italy), “Monkey Warfare” (Canada), “Monkey’s in Winter” (Bulgaria/Germany), “Nomad” (Kazakhstan), “The Old Garden” (South Korea), “One to Another” (France), “Outsourced” (USA), “Pages from Mauricio’s Diary” (Cuba/Mexico), “Paraguayan Hammock” (Paraguay), “Prague” (Denmark), “Premonition” (France), “The Rocket” (Canada), “Salty Air” (Italy), “Sounds of Sand” (Belgium), “Strike” (Germany/ Poland), “Sway” (Japan), “To Get to Heaven You First Have to Die” (Tajikstan/France), “Tomorrow Morning” (Serbia) and “Yippee” (USA).

As part of the Awards Buzz program, the Festival will screen 55 of the official submissions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Foreign Language Film. Documentaries screening in the Awards Buzz category are “Sisters in Law” (Cameroon/UK), “Storms of Emotions” (Israel), “Blindsight” (UK), “My Country, My Country” (USA/Iraq) and the US films “Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?”, “Deliver Us From Evil,” “Shut Up and Sing,” “Iraq in Fragments,” “Jesus Camp,” “Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple,” “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” “An Unreasonable Man,” “The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends” and “An Inconvenient Truth.” Short films screening in this category are “The Blood of Yingzhou District” (China), “Dear Talula” (USA), “The Diary of Immaculée” (USA), “Phoenix Dance” (USA), “Recycled Life” (USA), “Rehearsing a Dream” (USA), “A Revolving Door” (USA) and “Two Hands” (USA).

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